Kazakhstan’s first independent documentary festival has launched its second edition with a programme of new and timely international films.
The mission behind Qara Film Festival is to give audiences in Kazakhstan the chance to watch contemporary documentaries that tackle pressing social issues. “These documentaries are not only aesthetically stunning. They also urge you to question certain beliefs and perceptions about the surrounding reality,” the team behind Qara Film Festival explained. “The festival films are points of contact: bringing viewers closer to other people’s lives, or to previously unfamiliar, yet fascinating universes.”
Their 2021 programme lives up to the festival’s ambitions, boasting some of the most renowned international documentary titles of the last few years. One of these is Georgian director Salome Jashi’s Taming the Garden, which follows one billionaire’s quest to build an arboretum, and the lengths he will go to transport the tallest, most beautiful trees.
The programme also includes Elizabeth Lo’s Stray, a documentary that captures the realities of Istanbul through the eyes of three stray dogs, or Oscar-nominated Chilean documentary The Mole Agent, directed by Maite Alberdi, centring on a private investigator who hires an elderly man to go undercover in a nursing home in Chile.
While the inaugural edition was held online, this year the festival also hosted screenings at Almaty’s Arman Cinema, known for its colossal modernist mosaics. The online programme will run between 28 September and 9 October, with tickets available for those in Kazakhstan.